Research Program. Precision Nutrition and Aging
Director: Dr. Manuel Serrano Marugán
Objectives: the recently created Precision Nutrition and Aging Program at IMDEA Food is focused on the molecular and physiological effects that nutrition exerts on the process of aging. Since aging is a complex, multi-organ degenerative process strongly influenced by the genetic background and the environment, our research covers a wide range of biological topics: from the discovery and development of new bioactive products active against aging-related pathologies, to the dissection of different molecular pathways involved in degenerative pathologies, or the study of nutritional interventions with anti-aging properties, such as fasting or calorie restriction.
Headed by Dr. Manuel Serrano, one of the most prestigious Spanish scientist in the fields of aging and cancer, the Precision Nutrition and Aging Department is intensely expanding at the moment. Recently, it has incorporated another of the worldwide best-known aging scientist, Dr. Rafael de Cabo, from the National Institute of Aging, a reference in the study of calorie restriction as a nutritional intervention to lengthen lifespan. Along with these two very important figures, the group of Dr. Pablo J. Fernandez-Marcos, focused on nutritional interventions (bioactive products, fasting) to fight obesity, diabetes and aging, form the program.
Dr. Manuel Serrano Marugán
Director of the Tumour Suppression Group and Director of the Molecular Oncology Program, Spanish National Cancer
Research Center Associate researcher, IMDEA Food Director of the Precision Nutrition and Aging Program
Manuel Serrano is a researcher at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), in Madrid, and Director of the Molecular Oncology Program of the CNIO.
After completing his studies and PhD in Madrid, M.S. joined the laboratory of David Beach, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY, USA, as postdoctoral fellow from 1992 to 1996. During this time, Manuel Serrano made one of his most important contributions with the discovery of the tumour suppressor p16. Manuel Serrano established his research group, first at the National Center of Biotechnology, Madrid, and since 2003 at the CNIO.
The main contributions of the Serrano’s laboratory during these years are related to the concept of oncogene-induced senescence and the anti-aging activity of tumor suppressors. More recently, Serrano’s group has reported on the relevance of tumor suppressors in metabolic Syndrome, the existence of senescence during embryonic development, and the feasibility of embryonic reprogramming within alive adult organisms (the latter was considered “Achievement of the Year 2013” in the stem cells field by Nature Medicine). The unifying theme of Manuel Serrano’s research is to understand and manipulate cellular stress responses in relation to cancer and regeneration.
Nutritional Interventions Group
Group leader: Dr. Rafael de Cabo
Objectives: the Nutritional Interventions Group applies the knowledge gained in model organisms to translate nutritional interventions to improve or delay the decline of function that occurs with aging. We utilize whole body physiological and tissue-specific molecular approaches to investigate effects of nutritional interventions on basic mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases.
Dr. Rafael de Cabo
Chief of the Translational Gerontology Branch, National Institute on Aging (NIH) (USA) Associate researcher, IMDEA Food Group leader of the Nutritional Interventions Group
Rafael de Cabo, PhD is currently the chief of the Translational Gerontology Branch at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland. A nativeof Cordoba, Spain, he received his B.S. from the University of Cordoba, and his Ph.D. in 2000 from the Department of Foods and Nutrition at Purdue University. Upon completion of his graduate education, he trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2004, he was appointed as a tenure track investigator in the Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology. His group applies both physiological and tissue-specific molecular approaches to investigate effects of nutritional interventions on basic mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases. Research within his unit strives to identify protective mechanisms invoked by caloric restriction and to evaluate the consequences of dietary interventions on lifespan, pathology, and behavioral function. Dr. de Cabo’s research balances the exploration of in vivo rodent, as well as in vitro, paradigms of caloric restriction.
Hepatic Regenerative Medicine Group
Group leader: Dr. Manuel Alejandro Fernandez Rojo
Objectives: The research conducted in the Hepatic Regenerative Medicine Group aims to provide non-invasive interventions to improve the treatment of chronic liver diseases and liver cancer by formulating novel diet-modifications. This includes nutritional approaches that promotes or represses therapeutic and deleterious proliferation of liver cells in cases of living-donor liver transplantation or after surgical removal of liver tumors, respectively. Our goal will be achieved using molecular, metabolism and cell biology examination on in vitro and in vivo experimental models of human liver diseases.
Dr. Manuel Alejandro Fernández Rojo
Group leader of the Hepatic Regenerative Medicine Group
Dr. Manuel Alejandro Fernández Rojo, native from Valladolid, Spain, received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Barcelona in 1999 and his PhD, from the same university, in 2005 by studying the role of Caveolin-1 on lipid metabolism and storage during liver regeneration within Dr. Albert Pol and Prof. Carlos Enrich’s group from the IDIBAPS Institute/School of Medicine (University of Barcelona). As a result of the outstanding quality of his research, the University of Barcelona awarded Dr. Fernández-Rojo with the Margalef Award. Moreover, the Science and Education Minister from the Spanish Government granted him the competitive Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue his research in liver physiology.
Hence, during the last 12 years, Dr. Fernández-Rojo continued his research in liver cell biology and metabolism in some of the most outstanding Australian research institutes. This includes eight years as postdoctoral fellow in Rob Parton’s group (The Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland), one year at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute studying obesity and liver cancer and three years at the Hepatic Fibrosis Group from the QIMR Berghofer MRI understanding the role of hepatic stellate cells and liver progenitor cells on hepatic inflammation and chronic liver diseases.
In present, Dr. Manuel Alejandro Fernández Rojo is a “TALENTO Program” Fellow and in collaboration with Spanish, European and Australian eminent researchers, targets metabolic, cell biology and gene therapy-based strategies to improve the treatment of human chronic liver disorders.
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